LGBT+ History Month 2021

1st February marked the beginning of LGBT+ History Month. Launched in 2005, LGBT+ History Month is a time when people come together to share and tell stories of the experiences, lives and achievements of LGBT+ people throughout society.

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Air Quality and Health - Time for Action

Poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health. We're painfully aware of this in south London.

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Fatal Accident at Eden Park - Lack of Tactile Paving to Blame

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch  has released their Report into the fatal accident at Eden Park Station in February 2020 when a blind man fell over the edge of the platform and was killed by a train.   

The report highlights the absence of tactile paving as a cause of the accident, a basic safety measure that alerts visually impaired travellers when they are approaching the edge of the platform.  "Eden Park is far from unique: around half of all mainline stations in the UK are also not equipped with this valuable aid to the visually impaired."  

Lib Dem London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon has been campaigning to get Network Rail to recognise that waiting to install tactile paving until a station is being refurbished is not acceptable.  "Tactile paving on train platforms is not an optional extra, but instead a vital safety measure.

“Network Rail needs to reach 100 per cent provision of tactile paving far sooner than 2029.   We cannot afford to wait seven years for such a basic safety feature to exist at every train station.  A clear timetable for safety improvements must be brought forward, starting with immediate action at island platforms, stations which only have partial tactile paving on their platforms and unstaffed stations.”

“Today’s report is absolutely right in highlighting that it does not make sense to  continue waiting until platforms are refurbished to finally install tactile paving.   Safety improvements should not be held up any longer.”

Local Lib Dem GLA Candidate for Bexley & Bromley, Allan Tweddle, is blind and walks with a guide dog.  Allan said "As a blind person I regularly rely on tactile paving on station platforms. It is a simple safety feature that really works. The fact that half of all mainline stations still don’t have it in 2021 shows that despite paying lip service to supporting disabled travel this Government is failing visually impaired people in Bromley, London and across the country."

The report can be seen in full here.



Albemarle Road Cycle Scheme Consultation

Albemarle Road Consultation

The Albemarle Rd Cycle Scheme was a golden opportunity to use TfL funds to make cycling in Beckenham safer but was sadly, implemented badly by our Conservative-led council.

There was barely any consultation, making Westgate Road Bridge one-way was a major mistake and without taking the time to engage local people and recognise the wider impact of the scheme on residents living and travelling through this part of Beckenham.  The Council have done a disservice to the benefits of active travel and cycling schemes. In short, they've dropped the ball.  

However, we should not let the Council's characteristically poor implementation undo TfL-funded schemes to improve cycling across the borough. 

Local Lib Dem Campaigner, Chloe-Jane Ross, asked the Council’s Highways Team why the scheme had not been designed to link up with the long proposed TfL cycle quietway along Worsley Bridge Road to Lower Sydenham. The initial design did not seem to consider this. After this being raised, the Council have now secured TfL funding to install traffic lights on Westgate Road Bridge to return traffic to a two-way system so cyclists will be able to get to the Quietway without having to traverse busy Beckenham Junction. This will also resolve issues on Westgate Road Bridge, something Beckenham Lib Dems have long campaigned for.

As well as returning Westgate Road Bridge to two-way with traffic lights, the Council now propose to make Albemarle Rd two-way again between Beckenham Junction and Westgate Rd.

We think these changes will make the scheme better and balance the needs of cyclists and motorists - most importantly it will enable the cycle scheme to link to existing cycle routes at Lower Sydenham.

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With Debenhams and Top Shop Gone: What's next for Bromley's High Streets?

Did you see the news? All 118 Debenhams' remaining UK stores are closing down - including the one right here in Bromley - putting 12,000 jobs at risk nationwide. The chain's closure is going to leave a big hole in the heart of our high streets, as the former stalwart disappears from physical stores after 242 years of trading.  A few days later we heard that Top Shop was going too, and of course we’d found out in November that Peacocks were going into administration, leaving a big hole in Penge and Orpington.  And so many more have gone since the start of the pandemic, including Mothercare, Poundland, Laura Ashley

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